Rio Tinto may battle Indian steel majors for Riversdale Mining

Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest mining company, yesterday formalised a A$3.78 billion bid for Mozambique-focused coal miner, Riversdale Mining - a move likely to attract counter bids from Indian and global steel majors.

Shares in Sydney-based Riversdale were placed in a trading halt this morning pending a statement about a ''possible control transaction,'' Riversdale said in a statement today.

The Australian today reported that both companies are to thrash out non-monetary terms, including pre-bid agreements, where Riversdale would be barred from soliciting rival bids.

According to unconfirmed media reports, Rio Tinto has formalised an offer to buy Riversdale for around A$16 per share, valuing the coal miner at around A$3.78 billion.

 Earlier this month, Riversdale had announced that it was in talks with Rio Tinto about an A$15 a share or around A$3.5 billion takeover offer and hinted that it was in talks with at least one other unnamed suitor. (See: Rio Tinto may overtake Tata Steel as Riversdale's largest shareholder

Although it did not name the suitor, it is surmised that India's biggest iron-ore producer, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) was in talks to buy a 10 per cent stake in Riversdale.